From 2014 to 2016, New York’s Medicaid program saw a surge in drug spending that Governor Andrew Cuomo blamed on “abusive” behavior by drug manufacturers. A new Empire Center issue brief shows that, after accounting for rebates, the surge was smaller than Cuomo described, and that it was mostly driven by enrollment growth. Overall, the report finds that price increases accounted for about one-fifth of the spending surge, while enrollment accounted for four-fifths.
Now that the state budget is put to bed for another year, here is a non-comprehensive rundown of health care-related highlights and lowlights.
The largest revenue-raiser in the just-completed state budget, worth $2 billion over four years, is not a tax or a fee or even a legal settlement. It takes the form of semi-voluntary “grants,” mostly to be squeezed out of a Catholic Church-affiliated health plan.
Governor Cuomo’s proposal to expropriate “excess” reserves from Medicaid managed care plans would apparently target just two insurers—Fidelis Care and MetroPlus—even though their reserve levels are not unusually high.
Fidelis Care, a Catholic Church-affiliated health plan, is the target of a second revenue-raising proposal from Governor Cuomo.
If Governor Cuomo succeeds in imposing a tax on prescription opioids, state government would largely be taxing itself.
The past year has been a roller-coaster for New York’s health-care system, as Congress tried repeatedly to scale back Medicaid and dismantle the Affordable Care Act while allowing other health-related programs to lapse. Because New York depends so heavily on federal health dollars, it had more to lose than almost any other state.
After many dire warnings about cuts to health care in Washington, it’s worth noting that federal funding for the state’s massive Medicaid program is still on track to go up, not down, in the year ahead.